Small groups can communicate in person, by phone or e-mail, or engraved invitation, but a larger pool works best on social media. Several platforms are available, some for pay, with bells and whistles (like MeetUp.com), others free, like Google+ and Facebook. All provide controls for membership, allow members to post and respond to messages, links, and images, and include a simple format for scheduling events: Banner image, headline, date and time, location (with map), description, guest list, and RSVP.
Facebook groups are for Facebook friends, friends of friends, and anyone on Facebook, most of whom are not at all (yet) interested in reading plays. MeetUp recommends your group to MeetUp members in your geographic area who share your interest, but it’s $15 a month, and Cold Reads meant to be free, so we use Facebook.
Start a Facebook Group
Anyone on Facebook can create a group, invite friends to join, and schedule a read:
- On your Facebook Home page, click the arrow at the right end of the blue bookmark bar for a drop-down menu
- Click Create Group for to display pop-up form.
Your Group page will appear, on which you may add a banner photo, description, and other information.
- Public groups are visible to all Facebook readers. Anyone can see posts, make comments, and join events; members can post updates and schedule reads.
- Closed groups can be seen by anyone on Facebook, but only members see posts and events.
- Secret groups are invisible to all but members.
By starting the group, you become its Administrator. To share the load, you may designate other members as Administrators. (Click Members; click the gear icon by the member’s name for a drop-down menu; and click Make Admin.)
By default, Facebook allows any member to publish posts, schedule events, and invite new members to join the group. To monitor these privileges, you may subject them to Admin approval. Click *** for a drop-down menu; click Edit Group Settings; and select the appropriate Admin options (“Any member can add members, but an admin must approve them,” “Only admins can post to the group,” and/or “All group posts must be approved by an admin.”
“Just Us” Groups
Both Closed and Secret Groups (Just Us) consist of no one but you and your circle of friends. Only those allowed to join are privy to its posts and events.
A Public Group is open to all Facebook users, any of whom may sign up for a read and, pending Admin approval (see below), join the group, post updates, schedule reads, and add other members. An open group is an excellent way to recruit a large pool of potential readers from all walks of life and connect them with one another.
The proto-typical Public group is Cold Reads/Charlotte.
Create an Event
To schedule a read (pending admin approval), simply click Events, then click Create Event, upload a banner photo (optional), type the name of your event (the play), location, date and time, a blurb about the occasion, and a link to the script. If the reader pool is large, stipulate the maximum number of you can accommodate—first come, first served. (Facebook, unlike MeetUp, has no automatic cutoff.)
The Invitations post addresses, blurbs and guest lists. To invite all members automatically, check the “Invite all members of [group name]” box at the bottom of the page. If not checked, you can restrict attendance to specific people.
Click Create. Your Event page appears. Click Invite for a drop-down list, click Choose Friends, check the circle beside the names you’d like to attend, and click Send Invites. You may also (pending admin approval) share this invitation on your Timeline and with other Facebook friends and groups.